A criminal behind bars

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 Fun story about some good investigative work. From the Ontario Canada station CTV:

'America's most-wanted deadbeat dad' caught in failed Alberta cherry pit scam
A man dubbed “America’s most-wanted deadbeat dad” has been arrested thanks to the sharp wits of a small-town Alberta restaurateur, who managed to identify the man after he suspected he was being scammed.

Joseph Stroup, 64, appeared in a Chicago courtroom last week to face charges related to more than US$560,000 in unpaid child support. The divorced father of four sold his internet business for $2 million, but hasn’t paid child support since 1996, according to the U.S. Office of the Inspector General. He eventually climbed to the top of the Inspector General’s list of most-wanted deadbeat dads, but didn’t turn up again until last November in Bearspaw, Alta., where he was caught living under the name “Joop Cousteau.”

And the story?

Restaurant owner Scott Winograd fingered the wanted man through a carefully-laid trap that he set once he realized he was being duped by a wanted man, who seemed to have been laying low in the small Alberta community.

Winograd says Stroup loved to drop in to the Bear’s Den restaurant and brag about himself, claiming to be a former doctor and Oxford University graduate who “got bored” and became a vice-president at Google.

“He was an odd duck, there was no question about that,” Winograd told CTV News.

What happened:

“Ten minutes after he called Joe the server over, and said: ‘I bit down on a Maraschino cherry pit and I broke some dental work,” Winograd said. “He was very adamant that he had $65,000 worth of dental work in his mouth, and he passed what looked like a cherry pit off to the server.”

Maraschino cherries are often used for cocktails and are typically sold with the pits removed, Winograd pointed out.

Winograd says the man came back the next day with a handwritten form outlining a hefty bill for his “damaged” dental work. Winograd took note of the name on the form and looked up “Joop Cousteau” on Google.

Winograd found a Facebook page set up by U.S. law enforcement under the name Joop Cousteau, with a mugshot of the wanted man. “Joop Cousteau is the alias used by Joseph W. Stroup,” said a post on the page from May 6, 2015. The post included a link to Stroup’s entry on the Status of Deadbeats list.

Heh - gotta love the internet.  The restaurateur offered Stroup a free meal but sat him at the counter in full view of the surveillance cameras. Grabbed a screen cap and sent it off to the Canadian and US law enforcement - this was the response:

“Within an hour the FBI, the U.S. Marshals and the Inspector General all called,” he said.

You can try to run but something will always trip you up. The perfect getaway only happens in storybooks.

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on February 24, 2018 6:30 PM.

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